Thirteen – Tom Hoyle
This was kind of wonderful actually.
I first heard of this due to its rather wonderful ad campaign, which took place on instagram, genius idea. The pre release publicity included a make your own ending style game. Amazing, why can’t all books be like that?!
The cover isn’t bad to look at either. Neither is it a bad read.
Born at midnight in London, on the stroke of the new millennium, Adam is the target of a cult that believes boys born on this date must die before the end of their thirteenth year. Twelve boys have been killed so far. Coron, the crazy cult leader, will stop at nothing to bring in his new kingdom. And now he is planning a bombing spectacular across London to celebrate the sacrifice of his final victim: Adam.
For something marketed at a young audience (I say this because of the use of an instagram game in the marketing) it’s actually really scary. The characters are all thirteen/fourteen and the narration fits readers of that age, but it isn’t for the faint hearted. It doesn’t ease you in either, there is literally a man with a giant knife in the opening chapter. It is fast paced and it is frightening, but again, if you’re an old fogey like me, you will find the narration a little trying at times, I just had to keep reminding myself that I am not the target audience.
Despite that, I was gripped from the very beginning, you can’t just start a novel on New Year’s Eve with a baby being born and a man arriving with a knife determined to murder said baby and not expect me to be hooked.
The second half of the book was tense and suspenseful, my God, I raced through it, as the time passes closer and closer to Adam’s birthday, the People’s actions got more and more frightening and Adam got more and more desperate. This was a very strong debut novel, the villains were fantastic and all the more eerie because these kinds of people actually exist, Coron was no different to Charles Manson, or any of the other truly terrifying cult leaders out there who genuinely believe in these kind of crazy ideas. Its own real downside is how the ending was rushed, it felt a little like it was over in a flash, I wanted a bit more action. I felt a little cheated by it, but when that’s the only thing you can pick up on you’re onto a bit of a winner.
Surprisingly to me, there is a sequel in the works and I am intrigued as to how the story can continue, based on the ending. If you know any young to mid teens with a penchant for thrillers and tense action stories, this is definitely the story for them.